Thursday, 10 September 2015

Hong Kong Revisited!

About twenty years ago, I was lucky enough to work periodically in Hong Kong, doing portraits of racehorses, livery horses and many cherished four-legged friends for clients living there.

The opportunity came about after I was asked to do a portrait for two HK charities, RDA and KELY, to be auctioned at the ROA (Racehorse Owners Association) annual dinner, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in October of 1994. It was decided that the subject would be the then last eight Derby winners entitled 'PRIDE OF THE DERBY' as eight is considered a lucky number in Hong Kong.

I worked on the portrait for several weeks but due to the time taken to finish the piece, there wasn't any guarantee that a photo of the work sent overland would arrive in time to be included in the brochure for the dinner. It has brought it home to me how far technology has advanced in the last 20 years, as there was no facility in 1994 to send a large image via email! Hard to believe nowadays!

I was very nervous, as I had no idea how much the portrait would raise, but my fears were totally unfounded as the bidding was fast and furious and the final bid was from Ronald Arculli for HK$350,000. Hence my enormous grin in the photo below!

The portrait was the horses listed below. I felt very privileged not only to have been commissioned, but to have met some of these amazing horses. On one of my subsequent visits to Beas River, where the ex racehorses are rehabilitated, I was honoured to be allowed to ride Clear City. It's not often one gets the chance to say one's ridden a Derby winner!

The portrait now hangs in the Clubhouse at Sha-Tin racecourse, generously donated to the HKJC by Ronald Arculli.

Some of my past racing commissions from HK included Roaring Success, Master Eagle, Leprachaun, Ufo, Motivation, Pinkie Long Legs, Sea Jade and Super Fit.

Unfortunately, the only one of those portraits I seem to have a record of is Master Eagle, so here he is at his peak in 1997. I do remember what a huge engine he had, and the portrait bears out the power of that!

So, the whole point of this blog is that through a couple of meetings with some friends, there appears to be an opportunity to return to Hong Kong and re-establish connections there, both old and new so please feel free to share with everyone who might be interested!